When planning a job which requires sheet timber materials it’s important to choose the right timber for the job. There are a number of key considerations that you will need to think about before searching for your supplier.
The first question is whether your wood is to be used outdoors or indoors. If it’s an outside project you will need to think about weather exposure, damp and rot issues, plus any kind of treatment you would need to use on the timber. If it’s a project for indoors, such as building furniture or flooring, then your choices are much broader as you don’t need to worry about how the wood will cope under extreme conditions. Thanks to this you can opt for softer woods. If in doubt you should talk to a timber expert such as Richard Williams for advice on the right wood to purchase for the type of project you’re undertaking.
You also need to consider the kind of finish you want on the wood afterwards and how much maintenance you are prepared to do to keep it looking its best. Do you want a varnish coating, or do you intend to paint it? These questions will have an impact on the type of wood you should select.
The other element to consider is how easy the wood is to work with. You need to see how pliable it has to be and how easily you can plane it, sand it and cut it, to make it work for your particular project. Once you have decided on the right timber then you need to head down to your nearest timber supplier such as Richard Williams to buy what you need.
But before you do, here is a quick guide to some of the most common sheet timber materials and what kind of jobs you can use them for to help you make the right choice.
- Chipboard Flooring
As the name suggests, chipboard flooring is designed as a sheet material to be used for floor layering. It generally comes in ready cut sheets at 18mm and 22mm and is very moisture resistant making it ideal for this purpose. Merchants selling this will generally sell the sheets already tongued and grooved to make it a super easy to install flooring material.
- Melamine-faced boards
These can be either wood-grained or plain and are generally suitable for the kitchen, DIY projects and bedroom furniture. It can also be bought in a variety of colours.
Most people associate MDF with kitchen units and that’s because it is a really flexible multi-purpose panel for indoor use. It is the best option for a number of indoor projects including making office furniture, creating kitchen cabinets, building fire surrounds or even making dining tables.
It is a relatively cheap material, fire-resistant and has a very low reaction to moisture which means it’s ideal to use in kitchens, but also in bathrooms as the steam won’t impact it too much whereas some other woods might bow.
- Veneered MDF
If you are creating a project which requires a select veneer, then veneered MDF is a great alternative to solid wood. It can be used for a wide number of indoor projects, including furniture, cabinets and panel mouldings. It has all the same qualities as MDF which makes it ideal for bathroom and kitchen projects.
- Pine Board
This is the most common and versatile timber used for general DIY projects as it comes in all sizes and can be painted, stained or varnished to create a variety of finishes and styles for end projects. It’s commonly used for shelving and furniture.
This sheet material is generally used externally for joinery, however there is no reason you can’t use it for an internal furniture making project as well.
- Oriented Strand Board
This is a very sturdy panel which is perfect to use for creating outside projects including flat and pitched rooves, flooring, partitions and other parts of the timber frame construction of a building. It is created with exterior grade resin and is incredibly strong. It is the perfect sheet material for external construction products and in humid environments due to its moisture resistance.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of sheet timber materials available on the market and it’s a simply a case of thinking about all the factors for your particular project first, then seeking advice from a timber expert and finally getting down to the merchants to get started.